District short of 4,000 toilets for OFD status

Urban local bodies in the district comprising 13 municipalities and the Kochi Corporation are just about 4,000 toilets short of being declared open defecation-free (ODF) under the Swachh Bharat Urban campaign.

As per the figures available for June this year, 3,978 toilets need to be either constructed or repaired in the 14 local bodies for which they have collectively earmarked Rs. 2.17 crore.

Kochi Corporation, where 1,000 toilets have to be built and 805 need to be repaired and Angamaly municipality where the corresponding numbers are 200 and 350, are yet to earmark the required Rs. 1.87 crore and Rs. 55.36 lakh respectively for the project.

Six urban bodies - Kochi Corporation and the municipalities of Aluva, Angamaly, Kalamassery, Thrikkakara, and Thripunithura - are yet to get their projects approved by the District Planning Committee, while North Paravur has submitted its project and is awaiting approval.

Going by the claims, Aluva municipality has a good chance of being the first civic body to be declared open defecation-free. Though it initially claimed that it needed only one toilet and earmarked Rs. 10,067 for that, the municipal authorities revised it later. “We have found that there are two or three more households without toilets and are making all efforts to become the first ODF municipality in the State,” said A.R. Timmy, chairperson of the municipal health standing committee.

On the other hand, Angamaly municipality has drastically scaled down the need for new toilets from the initial 200 to 35. Both these claims, however, remain to be counter verified by the District Suchitwa Mission, which is making all-out efforts to turn municipal bodies in Ernakulam open defecation-free at the earliest.

Under Swachh Bharat Urban, the cost of constructing a toilet is estimated at Rs. 15,400 out of which the Central and State governments’ share of Rs. 5,333 is allocated upfront while the remaining Rs. 10,067 has to be borne by the urban bodies in three instalments, either out of its own funds or the plan fund.

The municipalities of Muvattupuzha (7 toilets), North Paravur (49), and Thripunithura (17) have released the first instalment of funds while North Paravur (23) has released the second instalment.

While Muvattupuzha has started the work on seven toilets, North Paravur has started the work on 49 and Thripunithura two toilets. Only two toilets have been completed in Muvattupuzha.

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 7:55:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/District-short-of-4000-toilets-for-OFD-status/article14511210.ece

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